MGM's 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" has a special place in history and our hearts. It's on almost every list of best American films, listed as a masterpiece by everyone from Roger Ebert to Salman Rushdie. The film itself was a financial flop for MGM and has one of the most notorious productions, both in cost and incidents, of all time. Here is a list of just some of the film's strange trivia.
1. The snow the woke Dorothy up from the poppy field was 100% asbestos.
2. The Munchkins were billed as the "Singer Midgets" and used their employment in the film, under their manager Leo Singer, to escape the Nazis. Only two of them are heard using their real voices.
3. The "horse of a different color" was not colorized in post-production, as many believe. The white horses were tinted with Jell-O packets.
4. Dorothy gives Professor Marvel a photo of Auntie Em that he inexplicably never gives back to her.
5. Many of Margaret Hamilton's scenes as the Wicked Witch of the West were cut because they were just too scary.
6. The Wizard of Oz, at one point, wears a coat that once belonged to L. Frank Baum, the author of the original novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
7. The Scarecrow's makeup contained a rubber prosthetic of a cloth pattern glued to actor Ray Bolger's face. It left lines that took a year to disappear.
8. Following an accident with the original special effect, the skywriting "Surrender Dorothy" was written backward in a tank of water with a model of the witch on her broom.
9. Judy Garland's costume required a painful corset around her torso to make her appear smaller and younger.
10. Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West, was a former schoolteacher.
11. Several songs were cut during the final edit. The film's most famous song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," was almost left on the cutting room floor.
12. However, a reprise of the song, that took place in the Witch's Castle, was cut.
13. Toto went on to have a long career as a dog actress. She has a memorial gravestone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
14. The head winged monkey, Nikko, was named after the Japanese city with the famous "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil" monkey shrine.
15. Toto received $125 per week for her work while the Munchkins were paid $50 per week.
16. The Tin Man was recast after the aluminum makeup irritated actor Buddy Ebsen's lungs.
17. The Cowardly Lion's costume was made out of real lion fur. It weighed over 90 pounds.
18. After a fiery accident during the filming of an early scene, Margaret Hamilton took several weeks off to recuperate at home and came back on the condition that she wouldn't do any more fire stunts.
19. Dorothy Gale almost had a very different look. The original character design for her was blond hair and baby doll makeup.